Yesterday's last-minute bloodbath on the stock market was a response to a burst of jitters on Wall Street triggered by scary American inflation numbers.
It was not the inflation that spooked Wall Street - April's 0.6 per cent could be due to special factors - but fear of what Ben Bernanke, the new man at the Fed, will do.
Mr Bernanke is no Alan Greenspan. When Mr Greenspan ran the Fed he spoke in riddles and when he didn't most people people thought he meant to anyway.
With Mr Bernanke you can understand every word and he has been saying too much. Worse, he can speak the truth, "a desperately dangerous trait for a central banker", Jim Wood-Smith at Christows points out.
Last week's truth was that the US faces twin risks of higher inflation and slower growth. That may be self- evident, but not the sort of thing Wall Street expects American central bankers to say.
So Mr Bernanke has become a perceptibly suspect figure. He has undermined his own reputation without actually doing anything.
The fear is that he will now be tempted to prove he is a strong guy with big biceps - that to show the world he is decisive, he will raise US interest rates further and faster than than he should.
Earlier yesterday, while the stock market was still doing nothing much, the pension specialists Aon published a survey showing how big British companies feel they are being harmed by their pension deficits.
Half think the cost of funding their final salary schemes is damaging their ability to compete effectively and 36 per cent that their deficit is depressing their share price.
Strangely, the seemingly ruinous mega-deficits that many companies were forced to declare in their 2005 balance sheets are quite possibly not there any more.
Robert Parkes, who keeps a close eye on these things at HSBC, calculates that at the end of last year the pension deficits of all the companies in the FTSE 350 index totalled #60 billion - and that this has since come down by #49 billion, "within touching distance of break-even".
That was on May 9. Share prices have taken a bad hit since, possibly reducing the improvement to, say, #40 billion rather than #49 billion. But rising share prices have been only one of four factors in this remarkable change of fortune.
The biggest boost came from rising gilt yields. These, which were driven down to within 0.3 per cent above inflation in a panic-buying spree early this year, but then recovered quite strongly. Yields on top-class corporate These are the basis used to calculate the present-day liability represented by pensions to be paid in future decades - the higher the yield the lower the discounted value here and now. Meantime, companies have also been paying huge special contributions into their funds and getting members to pay more, too.
The companies surveyed by Aon do not realise it, but one way or another they may be shrinking from yesterday's bogeyman.